BELOIT - A family atmosphere, successful program and teammates they could relate to.
That's what sold Eric Bridges and Christian Winfield to St. Cloud State.
The Beloit Memorial senior duo made their intentions official on National Signing Day, signing to play for the Huskies in the BMHS library Wednesday morning.
The Huskies are an NCAA Division II program, and a terrific one at that.
They finished with a solid 7-4 record in 2018, and have won at least five games every year since 2007.
Bridges and Winfield represent two of the 27 newest Huskies who made it official Wednesday.
Bridges has been a terrific two-sport athlete for the Knights, excelling in football and track. Twice, he was named honorable mention All-Big Eight for his duties at running back, and he's won Sprinter of the Year for two years running for the track program.
He said the nearly six-hour drive was well worth it.
"It just felt like the right place right away," Bridges said. "Just in the one night I spent there, it was perfect. It's not too big, and not too small, and everyone is on the same level as you. It's the place to be for me."
The Knights' struggles have been well-documented. In his three years as a varsity player, Bridges came up victorious six times, and that represented a marked improvement from years past.
The ability to play for a winning program was appealing to Bridges.
"They had seven wins last year and every year they've done really well," Bridges said. "It's going to be great to go up there because they expect a lot out of you because they expect to win every time out."
Winfield was a two-time all-conference selection on the defensive line, and contributed mightily to the Knights' improvement over the past couple of years.
He, too was won over after visiting the school.
"I thought the coaches were great," Winfield said. "It felt like home, it felt like family. I'm very excited to get up there. I know it's going to be a lot of fun, to get to know my teammates and get that college vibe."